The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

September 5, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU’s Woods relishes first touchdown

MORGANTOWN — In the scheme of things, J.D. Woods’ touchdown on Saturday in West Virginia University’s season-opening 31-0 walkover against Coastal Carolina is somewhat insignificant.

It will never challenge “The Play” that Major Harris made against Penn State, nor will it match any of the heroics that came from the birth of Rich Rodriguez’s powerhouse as Steve Slaton and Patrick White roared from behind to beat Louisville.

They won’t speak of it 30 years from now the way they speak of the way Jeff Hostetler’s bootleg beat Pitt in 1983 or the way they will talk about Tyler Bitancurt’s game-winning field goal as time expired to beat Pitt last year.

But to Woods, a redshirt sophomore from Naples, Fla., it was all of that put into one.

How often is it, after all, that your first collegiate pass reception is a touchdown pass? The last time it happened at WVU was when Tyler Urban did the same thing against Rutgers in 2008.

This, however, had some bells and whistles to go with it.

To begin with, it was Geno Smith’s first touchdown pass as a starting quarterback, the first of what must be many, considering the direction WVU’s offense has taken under Jeff Mullen, who is a throw-first, run-second offensive coordinator.

And it was also the first touchdown of the season for West Virginia.

Now you may be wondering just who this J.D. Woods guy is, considering that you’ve been bombarded with stories about other more high-profile young receivers like Ivan McCarty, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin.

The fact of the matter is that he actually is listed as a starter when they go to their four-wide receiver sets, and in this game he was the first substitute coach Bill Stewart used this season, although it took seven plays for Stewart to send him in.

That came in the middle of a 16-play drive to open the game, one where the Mountaineers just pecked away at the defense — probing here, running there.

Finally, they got down to the Coastal Carolina 4, fourth and goal, coming after Noel Devine had lost three yards trying the right side.

“I thought we were going to kick (a field goal),” Woods admitted.

Certainly, that seemed like the right move at the moment for you surely didn’t want to waste a 16-play drive, especially after failing to go to your jumbo formation with two fullbacks that you had worked so hard on all spring and summer for goal line plays.

“I was just standing there on the sideline and heard them call ‘Cheetah! Cheetah!” Woods said.

That was a formation and play that not only required him to be on the field, but that went to him.

“I heard that and I ran out onto the field,” he said.

He also had an idea that this would be his big moment.

“I had a great feeling about that play because it had been open all week in practice,” he said.

Woods ran to the goal line, spun to the outside. Smith spotted him and threw the ball.

“It seemed like the ball was in the air forever,” Woods admitted.

He leaped. No, it was more like he floated into the air like some undersized Macy’s Thanksgiving Day float, latching onto the football with his big hands and coming down with easily an inch, maybe an inch and a half to spare.

The official threw his hands into the air, and Woods looked toward him.

Not thinking about the souvenir he could have had, he simply flipped the ball to the official and ran off the field, where he was greeted by teammates and wide receiver coach Lonnie Galloway.

Position coaches are sometimes spoil sports, and this was one of those moments.

“Nice going,” said Galloway. “Now, you’ve got to do a lot more. There’s a lot of game left.”

That didn’t give him much time to come down from that cloud he was riding on, a cloud he probably didn’t expect to be on this quickly.

He did admit that he dreamed about the game the night before, but it was more in running his routes and executing, not standing there slapping hands and high-fiving teammates.

In a way, though, there was some symbolism in him scoring the first TD on a reception, a hint that times are changing and that a new offense is in, that new receivers are on the scene and that WVU, which had been a run-first, power-football school with Rich Rodriguez and before him Don Nehlen was now moving toward a different philosophy with different kinds of players.

You might say that time will let them know if that’s the right direction to take, but it won’t be time that tells them whether they are right or wrong.

The opponents will.

E-mail Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Growing demands on college athletes concerns Wyant

    Fred Wyant, one of the greatest quarterbacks in West Virginia University’s history, has lashed out at today’s growing demands on college athletes.
    The 80-year-old Star City resident led the Mountaineers to a 30-4 record as the starter from 1952-1955. Percentage-wise, it’s clearly the best-ever record by a QB in school annals.
    Wyant, a member of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, came here after graduating with honors from Weston High School. That’s where WVU coach Art “Pappy” Lewis signed him to a four-year scholarship.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 22, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos